Universal Robina Corp. said Tuesday it is acquiring the idle sugar milling machinery and equipment of Central Azucarera Don Pedro Inc.
The assets will be used to expand the capacity and improve the sugar recovery process at URC’s sugar mill in Balayan, Batangas, the company said in a statement.
URC, one of the Philippines’ largest food manufacturers, is seeking to accommodate more sugarcane farmers at its Balayan mill to help secure a source of livelihood for them. Raising the mill’s capacity will ensure ample sugar supply for consumers, it said.
The new machinery and equipment from CADPI, a subsidiary of listed Roxas Holdings Inc. that permanently shut down its milling operations, will increase the Balayan mill’s capacity from about 5,000 tons to 8,000 tons a day.
URC said farmers were suffering from low sugar recovery on their sugarcane deliveries due to long waiting time in the truck yard. Some farmers say they may either stop farming or shift to planting low-value crops.
“The situation, if not immediately addressed, poses a grave threat to the livelihood of the farmers, as well as the entire sugarcane industry in Batangas, and will aggravate the current sugar shortage in the country,” the company said.
URC sugar and renewables general manager Rene Cabati earlier said URC will mill as much sugarcane as possible from planters displaced by CADPI’s permanent shutdown.
Apart from acquiring CADPI’s machinery and equipment, URC’s Balayan mill is also extending its milling season which normally ends in April until the month of June.
URC said its decision to acquire CADPI’s machinery and equipment has cut the time needed to expand the Balayan mill to two years from four years.
CADPI decided to permanently close its milling operations due to dwindling supply of sugarcane from farmers that undermines the total capacity of the mill.
CADPI said it plans to focus on sugar refining operations which are the remaining viable part of the mill’s operations.
CADPI is one of the largest sugar mills in the Philippines with a capacity of 13,000 tons of cane a day.